Many respected figures in the world of football have weighed in on the current situation at Baylor, but not many have been in a similar situation themselves.
But current Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien knows exactly what it feels like to be in the position that the Baylor Bears are in right now. O’Brien was on the Penn State coaching staff during the time period of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, and wants Baylor to keep one thing in mind going forward- that it’s only football.
It seems that Baylor is clearing out nearly all of their athletic department, football and administration after the allegations of sexual assault and rape by their very own football players were swept under the rug. Former head coach Art Briles took the brunt of the situation, and was terminated by the school. Briles is currently being replaced by interim head coach Jim Grobe.
Bill O’Brien knows this type of scenario all too well, as he himself took over the Nittany Lions football program after Sandusky was forced to leave the program. In addition to working on constructing a successful football team, O’Brien also took on the daunting task of rebuilding the institution’s tarnished reputation. The head coach wants Baylor to keep the victims in mind, and realize that there are things that carry a lot more weight than the game of football.
“We didn’t try to distance ourselves from child sexual abuse,” O’Brien said to the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain. “I think, most importantly, in any situation that involves some things that are hard to talk about, you have to face it and think about the victims. The first thing you have to do – in addition to putting your staff together and connecting with your players – is to make sure people know there are things a lot more important than football.”
“Whenever I spoke to our team, especially that first year, you couldn’t forget about what had happened. You have to express how important and how much bigger sexual violence is than football. That was an educational experience for me. Whether it was a media session or what, we never tried to distance ourselves from that.
“To me, it’s a big thing to say, ‘This is football, but at the end of the day, we’re talking about victims. We have to understand how to solve that problem before we get back to winning football games.’”
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports